Manuscript Submission Guidelines

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

  1. Peer review policy
  2. Article types
  3. Authorship
  4. How to submit your manuscript
  5. Journal contributor's publishing agreement and copyright assignment
  6. Statements and conventions
    6.1 Acknowledgments
    6.2 Declaration of conflicting interests
    6.3 Funding acknowledgement
    6.4 Other statements and conventions
  7. Permissions
  8. Manuscript style
    8.1 File types
    8.2 Journal style
    8.3 Reference style
    8.4 Manuscript preparation
  9. After acceptance
    9.1 Proofs
    9.2 E-Prints
    9.3 SAGE production
    9.4 OnlineFirst publication
  10. Further information

The JRSM is a forum for debate, education, and entertainment for clinicians interested in UK medicine and relevant international developments and research. The aim of publication in JRSM is to influence clinical practice and policy making across the whole range of medicine. Authors should remember that the JRSM has an international and multispecialty readership that includes primary care and public health professionals, and that the JRSM’s prime responsibility is to readers. The JRSM supports open access to research articles.

JRSM is a benefit of membership of the Royal Society of Medicine but it has full editorial independence. If your article arises from a meeting of one of the Society’s Sections please indicate on the title page the name of the Section and the date of the meeting.

All enquiries should be sent to the Editor, Dr Kamran Abbasi: kamran.abbasi@rsm.ac.uk

Please read the guidelines before submission. Incorrectly formatted articles may be rejected or delayed.

When ready submit your article online here: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/JRSM

 

1. Peer review policy

After a preliminary triage to eliminate submissions that are unsuitable for the JRSM, the remaining science-based articles, either original or review, are sent for open peer review, as explained in ‘JRSM introduces open peer review’ (JRSM 2006;99:379). Some material is published without external review. The JRSM welcomes appeals against decisions, although the editor may decide that a decision is final and disallow further appeals.

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2. Article types

Editorials:
Short pieces on topical subjects, usually commissioned by the Editor. 1000 words plus up to 10 references.

Letters:
Communication in response to articles previously published in the JRSM. 300 words plus up to 5 references.

Essays:
Informative articles on any subject relating to medicine, not usually including original research. 2000 words plus up to two tables or figures and up to 20 references.

Series:
Linked articles on a given topic published in sequential issues of the JRSM. Frequently guest-edited. For discussion with editor, but generally 2000 words plus up to two tables or figures and up to 20 references.

Reviews:
Authoritative reviews of medical issues, gathering together disparate information sources into a single coherent article. 3500 words plus up to five tables or figures and up to 30 references.

Research:
Original research into medical issues. 3500 words plus up to five tables or figures and up to 30 references.

Grand Round:
Case reports. Should be either a novel presentation of a common condition, or a common presentation of a rare condition. 1000 words plus two tables or figures and up to 10 references.

Media:
Short articles on medicine in culture, including visual arts and literature. For discussion with editor, but generally 1000 words plus two tables or figures and up to 10 references.

From the James Lind Library:
Articles on the history of evidence-based medicine, reproduced with the permission of the James Lind Library. No word limits.

Podium:
Personal 'soapbox' articles. 1000 words, generally no references.

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3. Authorship

Papers should only be submitted for consideration once the authorization of all contributing authors has been gathered. Those submitting papers should carefully check that all those whose work contributed to the paper are acknowledged as contributing authors.

The list of authors should include all those who can legitimately claim authorship. This is all those who:

  1. have made a substantial contribution to the concept and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data
  2. drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content
  3. approved the version to be published.

Authors should meet the conditions of all of the points above. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

When a large, multicentre group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship.

Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship, although all contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section.
Please refer to the ICMJE Authorship guidelines at http://www.icmje.org/ethical_1author.html.

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4. How to submit your manuscript

Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you carefully read and adhere to all the guidelines and instructions to authors provided below. Manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

JRSM is hosted on SAGE track a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Please read the Manuscript Submission guidelines below, and then simply visit http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/JRSM to login and submit your article online.

IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created.  For further guidance on submitting your manuscript online please visit ScholarOne Online Help.

All papers must be submitted via the online system. If you would like to discuss your paper prior to submission, please refer to the contact details below.

Each manuscript should contain a title page and abstract.

Title page:
The first page should contain the full title of the manuscript, a short title, the author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s), and the name, postal and email addresses of the author for correspondence, as well as a full list of declarations:

The title should be concise and informative, accurately indicating the content of the article. The short title should be no more than six words long.

The correct order for declarations is: competing interests, funding, ethical approval, guarantor, contributorship, acknowledgements.

Abstract:
An abstract of no more than 300 words must accompany all Review, Research and Grand Round articles. For Reviews and Grand Round this abstract should be a single, unstructured paragraph. Research articles require structured abstracts with the following subheadings: Objectives, Design, Setting, Participants, Main outcome measures, Results, Conclusions.

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5. Journal contributor’s publishing agreement   

Before publication SAGE requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. SAGE’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants SAGE the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright.  Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than SAGE. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway.

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and SAGE take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of articles published in the Journal. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the Journal against malpractice.  Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article (removing it from the journal); taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; banning the author from publication in the journal or all SAGE journals, or appropriate legal action.

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6. Statements and conventions

6.1. Acknowledgements

Any acknowledgements should appear first at the end of your article prior to your Declaration of Conflicting Interests (if applicable), any notes and your References.

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an ‘Acknowledgements’ section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support. Authors should disclose whether they had any writing assistance and identify the entity that paid for this assistance.

6.2 Declaration of conflicting interests

Within your Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement you will be required to make a certification with respect to a declaration of conflicting interests. It is the policy of Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine to require a declaration of conflicting interests from all authors enabling a statement to be carried within the paginated pages of all published articles.

Please include any declaration at the end of your manuscript after any acknowledgements and prior to the references, under a heading ‘Declaration of Conflicting Interests’. If no declaration is made the following will be printed under this heading in your article: ‘None Declared’. Alternatively, you may wish to state that ‘The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest’. 

When making a declaration the disclosure information must be specific and include any financial relationship that all authors of the article has with any sponsoring organization and the for-profit interests the organization represents, and with any for-profit product discussed or implied in the text of the article.

Any commercial or financial involvements that might represent an appearance of a conflict of interest need to be additionally disclosed in the covering letter accompanying your article to assist the Editor in evaluating whether sufficient disclosure has been made within the Declaration of Conflicting Interests provided in the article.

For more information please visit the SAGE Journal Author Gateway.

6.3 Funding Acknowledgement

To comply with the guidance for Research Funders, Authors and Publishers issued by the Research Information Network (RIN), Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine additionally requires all Authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading.  Please visit Funding Acknowledgements on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding or state in your acknowledgments that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. 

6.4 Other statements and conventions

6.4.1 Research ethics
All papers reporting animal and human studies must include whether written consent was obtained from the local Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board. Please ensure that you have provided the full name and institution of the review committee and an Ethics Committee reference number.

We accept manuscripts that report human and/or animal studies for publication only if it is made clear that investigations were carried out to a high ethical standard. Studies in humans which might be interpreted as experimental (e.g. controlled trials) should conform to the Declaration of Helsinki http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/index.html and typescripts must include a statement that the research protocol was approved by the appropriate ethical committee. In line with the Declaration of Helsinki 1975, revised Hong Kong 1989, we encourage authors to register their clinical trials (at http://clinicaltrials.gov or other suitable databases identified by the ICMJE, http://www.icmje.org/publishing_10register.html). If your trial has been registered, please state this on the Title Page. When reporting experiments on animals, indicate on the Title Page which guideline/law on the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.

6.4.2 Patient consent
Authors are required to ensure the following guidelines are followed, as recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients' names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published.

Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and written informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning. Download the JRSM/JRSM Short Reports patient consent form here.

6.4.3 Statistical analyses
Where statistical analyses have been carried out please ensure that the methodology has been accurately described. In comparative studies power calculations are usually required. In research papers requiring complex statistics the advice of an expert statistician should be sought at the design/implementation stage of the study.

6.4.4 Randomized controlled trials
All randomized controlled trials submitted for publication in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine should include a completed Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) flow chart. Please refer to the CONSORT statement website at http://www.consort-statement.org for more information.

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7. Permissions

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway.

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8. Manuscript style

8.1 File types

Only electronic files conforming to the journal's guidelines will be accepted. Preferred formats for the text and tables of your manuscript are Word DOC, RTF, files are also accepted.  Please also refer to additional guideline on submitting artwork below.

8.2 Journal Style

Manuscripts must be submitted using double line-spaced, unjustified text throughout, with headings and subheadings in bold case. Press ‘Enter’ only at the end of a paragraph, list entry or heading.

Figures:
All figures should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text. All figures must be accompanied by a figure legend. If figures are supplied in separate files, the figure legends must all be listed at the end of the main text file.

Line drawings should be produced electronically and clearly labelled using a sans serif font such as Arial. Graphs may be supplied as Excel spreadsheets (one per sheet). Other line drawings should be supplied in a suitable vector graphic file format (e.g. .eps)

Abbreviations:
Symbols and abbreviations should be those currently in use. Authors should not create new abbreviations and acronyms. The RSM’s book Units, Symbols and Abbreviations provides lists of approved abbreviations.

Units:
All measurements should be expressed in SI units.

8.2.1 Statistical guidelines
These guidelines are designed to help authors prepare statistical data for publication and are not a substitute for the detailed guidance required to design a study or perform a statistical analysis. Each section of a scientific paper is addressed separately.

Summary
The number and source of data must be stated and conclusions which have a statistical basis must be substantiated by inclusion of pertinent descriptive statistics (mean or median, standard deviation [SD] or interquartile range, percentage coefficient of variation [%CV], 95% confidence limits, regression equations, etc.).

Methods
Experimental design, subject selection and randomization procedures should be described and analytical precision quoted when appropriate. The hypotheses to be tested by a statistical procedure must be stated and where appropriate power calculations for the sample size used should be given (it is recommended that the power is X80%). In case-control studies clearly define how cases and controls were selected and what matching has taken place.
We would advise authors to consider the STARD,1 CONSORT2 and STROBE3 statements for studies reporting diagnostic or clinical trials. They offer guidance on writing reports with complete clarity.

Results
Unnecessary precision, particularly in tables, should be avoided. Rounded figures are easier to compare and extra decimal places are rarely important. Descriptive statistics require an additional digit to those used for the raw data. Percentages should not be expressed to more than one decimal place and not be used at all for small samples.
Normally distributed data should be described using a mean, SD and/or %CV and expressed as ‘mean (SD)’ not ‘mean ± SD’. When data are not normally distributed, following demonstration by tests such as the Shapiro-Wilk test,4 then medians and interquartile ranges should be used in place of mean and SD. Skewed data can often be normalized by logarithmic transformation or a power transformation. The statistical analysis and calculation of summary statistics should be carried out on the transformed data and the summary statistics transformed back to the original scale for presentation. If a logarithmic scale is used then graphs should display non-transformed data on a logarithmic scale.

Graphs showing data of comparable magnitude should be of a similar size and design. All individual points should be displayed where possible by displacing overlapping points. Error bars showing the standard error of the mean (SEM) or interquartile range, as appropriate, can be used to aid interpretation of the data.

The results of significance tests such as Student’s and chi-squared should be presented with descriptive statistics, degrees of freedom (if appropriate) and probability P. The validity of any assumptions should be checked (e.g. conventional t-tests assume a normal distribution and equal variance for each set of data). For 2 x 2 contingency table analysis by the chi-squared test the continuity correction must be applied and for small expected frequencies Fisher’s Exact Test used. P values should be reported in fullto1or 2 significant figures, describing P values as 40.05 or NS (not significant) should be avoided. If the results are highly significant and the calculated P value from the computer is e.g. 0.000, then the use of P <_0.0005 is="is" acceptable.="acceptable." confidence="confidence" intervals="intervals" should="should" be="be" stated="stated" particularly="particularly" for="for" non-significant="non-significant" results.="results." br="br">The conventional use of statistical significance is P≤0.05. If a different significance level needs to be used then the reasons why must be clearly stated in the statistical method section.

Discussion
Statistical significance should not be equated to importance and P values should not be compared between different data sets or different statistical tests. Association should not be interpreted as causation without additional evidence.

Problem areas:

Multiple comparisons
Multiple comparisons can produce spurious and misleading significance values. The primary hypothesis should always be clearly stated, and associations detected by retrospective analysis should be interpreted with caution. Whenever possible a single overall statistical test should be applied first e.g. ANOVA. If this is not significant then multiple comparisons must not be applied. If it is significant then some form of multiple range test can be applied. If a single overall test is not possible then multiple comparisons must use a Bonferroni type significance level.

Paired data
With paired data the differences between individual pairs of data and the variability of the differences are more important than the individual values. Graphical representation should also show the difference between individual pairs, e.g. by plotted lines joining the paired data points.

Standard regression analysis Standard regression analysis requires data points to be independent (repeated measurements are not independent). The independent variable should be measured without significant error, e.g. age or time, and the points should be evenly distributed over the range and have no outliers (this can be easily examined with a scatterplot). These requirements are rarely satisfied with biological data.

Method comparison
Method comparison using regression and correlation coefficients is inappropriate and should be performed using Altman and Bland difference plots.5 If a standard scatter plot and regression line are thought to be useful they can be given along with the Altman–Bland plot. Remember if two methods are supposed to be measuring the same thing then it is extremely likely they will be correlated so as a statistical tool correlation is not going to tell you anything new.

If you are carrying out complicated statistical analyses e.g. multivariate analysis, ROC analysis etc., then it is recommended that you seek advice from a statistician.

References:
1. Bossuyt PM, Reitsma JB, Bruns DE, et al. for the STARD Group. Towards complete and accurate reporting of studies of diagnostic accuracy: the STARD initiative. Ann Clin Biochem 2003;40:357–63
2. Moher D, Schultz KF, Altman DG for the CONSORT Group. The CONSORT statement: revised recommendations for improving the quality of reports of parallel-group randomization trials. Lancet 2001;357:1191–4
3. von Elm E, Altman DG, Egger M, Pocock SJ, Gøtzsche PC, Vandenbroucke JP for the STROBE Initiative. Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. BMJ 2007;335:806–8
4. Altman DG. Practical Statistics for Medical Research. London: Chapman & Hall, 1991:132–12
5. Bland JM, Altman DG. Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. Lancet 1986;1:307–10

8.3 Reference Style

References should follow the Vancouver format. In the text they should appear as numbers starting at 1. At the end of the paper they should be listed (double-spaced) in numerical order corresponding to the order of citation in the text. Automatic numbering should be avoided. References should include the names and initials of up to six authors. If there are more than six authors, only the first three should be named, followed by et al. Publications for which no author is apparent may be attributed to the organization from which they originate. Simply omit the name of the author for anonymous journal articles – avoid using ’Anonymous’. Punctuation in references should be kept to a minimum, as shown in the following examples:

Examples:

1. Jakobsen JÅ, Brabrand K, Egge TS, et al. Review Article. Doppler examination of the allografted kidney. Acta Radiol 2003;44:3-12

2. Avni EF, Hall M, Damry N, et al. Vesico-ureteric reflux. In: Fotter R, ed. Pediatric Uroradiology. Berlin: Springer, 2001:121

For further examples, please turn to the guidelines from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.

8.3 Manuscript Preparation

The text should be double-spaced throughout and with a minimum of 3cm for left and right hand margins and 5cm at head and foot. Text should be standard 10 or 12 point.

8.3.1 Your Title, Keywords and Abstracts: Helping readers find your article online

The title, keywords and abstract are key to ensuring readers find your article online through online search engines such as Google. Please refer to the information and guidance on how best to title your article, write your abstract and select your keywords by visiting SAGE’s Journal Author Gateway Guidelines on How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online.

8.3.2 Corresponding Author Contact details

Provide full contact details for the corresponding author including email, mailing address and telephone numbers. Academic affiliations are required for all co-authors. These details should be presented separately to the main text of the article to facilitate anonymous peer review.

8.3.3 Guidelines for submitting artwork, figures and other graphics

For guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit SAGE’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines.

Figures supplied in colour will appear in colour online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. For specifically requested colour reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from SAGE after receipt of your accepted article.

Photographic illustrations should be rendered with at least 300 dpi; please use CMYK color conversion if possible. Graphs made with Office software such as Microsoft Excel, can be provided in their original format to facilitate conversion into printable format with preserved quality. Any other line graphs/illustrations should preferably be provided in EPS format with a resolution of at least 600 dpi to prevent ragged lines when printed. A figure image should be at least 160 mm in width at the appropriate resolution. For further guidance on how to prepare your digital image see http://art.cadmus.com/da/index.jsp.

8.3.4 Guidelines for submitting supplemental files

This journal is able to host approved supplemental materials online, alongside the full-text of articles. Supplemental files will be subjected to peer-review alongside the article.  For more information please refer to SAGE’s Guidelines for Authors on Supplemental Files.

8.3.5 English Language Editing services

Non-English speaking authors who would like to refine their use of language in their manuscripts might consider using a professional editing service.  Visit English Language Editing Services on our Journal Author Gateway for further information.

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9. After acceptance           

10.1 Proofs

We will email a PDF of the proofs to the corresponding author.

10.2 E-Prints

SAGE provides authors with access to a PDF of their final article. For further information please visit Offprints and Reprints on our Journal Author Gateway.

10.3 SAGE Production

At SAGE we place an extremely strong emphasis on the highest production standards possible. We attach high importance to our quality service levels in copy-editing, typesetting, printing, and online publication (http://online.sagepub.com/). We also seek to uphold excellent author relations throughout the publication process.

We value your feedback to ensure we continue to improve our author service levels. On publication all corresponding authors will receive a brief survey questionnaire on your experience of publishing in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine with SAGE.

10.4 OnlineFirst Publication

A large number of journals benefit from OnlineFirst, a feature offered through SAGE’s electronic journal platform, SAGE Journals Online. It allows final revision articles (completed articles in queue for assignment to an upcoming issue) to be hosted online prior to their inclusion in a final print and online journal issue which significantly reduces the lead time between submission and publication. For more information please visit our OnlineFirst Fact Sheet.

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10. Further information

Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the Manuscript Submission process should be sent to the Editorial Office as follows:

Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the Manuscript Submission process should be sent to the Editor, Dr Kamran Abbasi, by email: kamran.abbasi@rsm.ac.uk.

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